Pension experts have accused the Government of actively discouraging pension saving to encourage consumers to carry on spending and maintain a buoyant economy leading up to the next general election.
Speaking at last week's Money Marketing Live conference in London, independent pension consultant Ros Altmann claimed Chancellor Gordon Brown is deliberately making pensions an unattractive option for lowerand middle-income groups.
She believes the Chancellor wants to see more growth from consumer borrowing to fuel the economy.
Altmann said IFAs advising clients to start a pension rather than another form of investment to fund retirement may risk clients misbuying because of the impact of means-testing.
Informed Choice and Sofa chairman Nick Bamford told the session on Gearing Up for A-Day that the Chancellor had robbed more pensioners of their money than Robert Maxwell.
Altmann said: “If you think that the Government really wants people to put money into pensions, you are wrong. The last thing this Government wants is for everyone to stop spending and start saving. Anyone advised into a pension at the moment will be misbuying.”
Earlier in the day, Legal & General pensions strategy director Adrian Boulding said spending rather than saving means more VAT receipts and more jobs created in the economy. He said: “Brown thinks if he gets people to save more, it will increase tax relief, reduce the amount of money in the economy and lead to a short-term rise in social security payments. Spending money now means more VAT receipts and more jobs paying more income tax.”